Counting Donkeys and Elephants:. 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections. Step by Step. 1. The U.S. Political System 3 Branches 2. The President’s Place 3. Electing the President Who can be president? (legal requirements) The Election Process 4. Election Day and Beyond.
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2008 U.S. Presidential Elections
1. The U.S. Political System
2. The President’s Place
3. Electing the President
Who can be president? (legal requirements)
The Election Process
4. Election Day and Beyond
Founding Fathers’ Main Objectives:
Representation of the people
Avoid TOO MUCH power in one place
Satisfy varying needs
Encourage unity (compromise)
2.7 million civilian employees
1.7 million military employees
Official US Executive Branch Websites
Checks and Balances
Head of State
Power to appoint personnel
Must work with Congress (compromise!)
White House official website
Natural-born U.S. citizen
At least 35 years old
Lived in the U.S. 14 years (min.)
A New Precedent
Redefining Gender and Race
Getting a feel for party’s potential candidate nomination
Large amounts of money
Broad base of support
Current state of affairs
Support of party
Starting from scratch
Time and money
Direct voting to choose candidate on state level
Local meetings of registered party members
Returning government to the people!
A Party Tradition
Not legally mandated
Ceremonial Nomination of Candidate
Running Mate declared
Direct media exposure
Build excitementNational Conventions cont’d
Or at least a candidate!
score 270 electoral votes!!
What are electoral votes?
What is it?
An indirect election system
Popular vote does NOT decide president
Electors cast “electoral votes” that ultimately decide
Who are electors?
Active in political parties
To learn more about the Electoral College
National Archives on the Electoral College
How does it work?
# Electors = # Senators + # Reps in House of Reps
i.e. CA = 55 electors
= 2 Senators + 53 representatives in the House of Reps
Washington, DC = 3 electors
WINNER TAKES ALL PER STATE!!!
Why do we have this system?
Founding Fathers lack of faith in the “average citizen”
Ensuring men of sound judgment
A check on popular opinion,
Amplifying and clarifying voice of people
Or nullifying it?
Financing a campaign
The Internet Campaign
Role of media/polls
Discussing the issues
Where does the money come from?
Matching Funds - yes or no?
Figures from elections past
Over $880 million spent in 2004
Also “swing states”
States that are still “undecided” in who is likely to capture their electoral votes.
Rather than waste time and money on sealing a larger margin of victory in “guaranteed” states, candidates tend to focus on winning these all-important regions.
creating “spectator states”
71% of Americans have internet at home
Public schools & libraries are on-line
Reaching out to specific populations
ex: Latino community
Negative ad campaigns
Debates focusing on the issues
Obama vs. McCain (57.40)
trials & tribulations
Exit poll predictions
Varied voting machines
Electors cast their “official” votes
Separate ballots for President and Vice President
Certified by state governor
Sent to President of the Senate
Maryland’s 2000 electors
January 6, (unless a Sunday)
joint session of Congress
Pictures from www.whitehouse.gov
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”